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Discrimination Laws: Advantages And Disadvantages For Both Employees And Business

Discrimination Laws: Advantages And Disadvantages For Both Employees And Business

Discrimination Laws: Advantages And Disadvantages For Both Employees And Business

Prepare: In your first post in this discussion, you will become   familiar with the case of Abercrombie & Fitch by means of the relevant   material in the Required Resources this week. There is also a specific media   feature located at the end of Section 5.3 of the textbook titled Workplace   Discrimination: Abercrombie & Fitch. In order to be prepared for this   task, you will need to complete the required readings and media listed.


Reflect: There are two sides to consider in the Abercrombie &   Fitch case. On the one hand, we have the job candidate’s side. She went to   the job interview wearing a hijab. The interviewer did not remark on the   hijab, and the candidate also did not volunteer that her religious beliefs   required her to wear a hijab. She was subsequently not hired based on the   perception that her appearance was incongruous with the company’s look   policy. For example, caps are not permitted and the male sales associates   (referred to as “models” in the company’s corporate language) are often   shirtless and in sweatpants in order to create the mood at the stores for the   aesthetic for which Abercrombie & Fitch has become known: young, preppy,   and hormonally charged. When she was notified that she was not hired for the   position, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity   Commission that, in turn, filed a lawsuit on her behalf alleging a violation   of Title VII.

On the other hand, we have   Abercrombie & Fitch’s side. As a company doing business in the United   States, Abercrombie & Fitch is legally permitted to hire those employees   who fit its look policy. This is no different from the look requirements for   the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the Chicago Bulls, the New York City Ballet   company, or for jockeys hired by thoroughbred owners to race them at the Kentucky   Derby. In all of these cases, there are height, size, and other look   requirements for employment that are justified by the particular demands and   aesthetics of the position. She was found to be qualified for the job but her   dress was clearly in conflict with Abercrombie & Fitch’s look policy.   Yet, the job applicant knowingly sought employment at this retailer.

According to the law, should a   special accommodation be required due to a religious practice, then Title VII   dictates that the look requirements give way to the religious requirement in   order not to be considered an act of religious discrimination.

The EEOC prevailed in the District   Court, but this judgment was reversed by the Tenth Circuit on the ground that   failure-to-accommodate liability only attaches when a job candidate provides   the potential employer with knowledge of the need for an accommodation due to   religious practice. Once it reached the Supreme Court, the decision was made   in favor of the job candidate. According to Justice Scalia,

Title VII does not demand mere   neutrality with regard to religious practices—that they be treated no worse   than other practices. Rather, it gives them favored treatment, affirmatively   obligating employers not “to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual   . . . because of such individual’s” “religious observance and practice.” An   employer is surely entitled to have, for example, a no headwear policy as an   ordinary matter. But when an applicant requires an accommodation as an   “aspec[t] of religious . . . practice,” it is no response that the subsequent   “fail[ure] . . . to hire” was due to an otherwise-neutral policy. Title VII   requires otherwise-neutral policies to give way to the need for an   accommodation.

The only dissenting opinion was   that of Justice Thomas who wrote:

Mere application of a neutral   policy cannot constitute “intentional discrimination.”…I would hold that   Abercrombie’s conduct did not constitute “intentional discrimination.”   Abercrombie refused to create an exception to its neutral Look Policy for   Samantha Elauf ’s religious practice of wearing a headscarf… In doing so, it   did not treat religious practices less favorably than similar secular   practices, but instead remained neutral with regard to religious   practices…Resisting this straightforward application of §1981a, the majority   expands the meaning of “intentional discrimination” to include a refusal to   give a religious applicant “favored treatment.”…But contrary to the   majority’s assumption, this novel theory of discrimination is not commanded   by the relevant statutory text.


Write: In the first part of your initial post, you will need to   introduce the Abercrombie & Fitch lawsuit. In this introduction, you will   also need to (1) articulate the freedoms that companies in the United States   enjoy given our relatively-free market system and (2) present the Title VII   regulations concerning employment discrimination. These will provide the   setting for you to be able to examine how the nation’s laws affect the hiring   practices of Abercrombie & Fitch and other companies whose hiring policy   includes a particular aesthetic for employees.

In the second part of your initial   post, present your analysis of this case in a way that identifies which   entities (Abercrombie & Fitch as a corporation, the economic system in   the USA, the regulatory control of the state, or all of these) have a role in   the problem that led to the lawsuit under examination. In your analysis, you   must assess the positive or negative effects of the interplay between   business activity and one of the following: the free-market system,   advertising, hiring regulations, or corporate social responsibility. Your   focus must be an ethical analysis of this interplay. Be sure to clearly   identify the ethical theory that you are applying in your analysis, and to   support your analysis by reliable and/or scholarly sources.


Revise: Read the feedback provided by your professor to your   initial post, either directly to you or to your fellow students. Use this as   an opportunity to learn from your professor, especially with regard to the   best ways to apply the course material and your research to your analysis. On   the basis of what you have learned in this process, post an improved revision   of your initial post that applies the additional knowledge that you have   gained.

Remember that your grade depends   on the quality of your initial and revised responses, not just on the   submission of an attempt at improvement. It is thus to your advantage to post   the best initial post you can and then to also improve that best effort as   much as you can through revision.


Requirements for Your Initial   Post:

  • Your initial post should be at least 350 words        in length and have citations and references in APA notation. It should        address the prompt in its entirety. This means that you should not split        your response to the prompt in multiple posts. Your examination should        be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time        and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
  • Please be advised that until you post, you will not        see what your fellow students are posting. Once you submit your post,        you will be able to view the posts from your other classmates. You can        then proceed to reply to at least two different threads based on the        required material for this discussion.
  • Your list of references for your initial post should        include not only the video and the other required material for this        discussion, as well as the Instructor Guidance and any other        announcements presented to you by your professor. Use all of the        material presented to you in the course and by your professor, in        addition to any other sources that you consulted to inform yourself        about this case (but not Wikipedia or similar sources).
  • Your initial post for this discussion should be        submitted no later than the end of Thursday (11:59 pm, U.S. Mountain        time).


Requirements for Replies to Other   Threads:

  • At least two of the four posts required should be in        the form of replies to fellow classmates in threads other than your own.
  • Each of your replies should be at least 200 words,        and informed by the course material. As such, the replies must have        citations and references in APA notation. Your list of references for        each reply should include all of the course material that has informed        your reply, in addition to any research that you have obtained on your        own.
  • Your replies should focus on the specific examination        presented by your fellow student and these should include an examination        of whether or not the characteristics of the ethical theory and/or        economic system were identified well, and whether or not their        application and analysis was also carried out successfully. Providing        such an examination is not an attack on your fellow student but an        attempt to work together with your fellow student toward the better        understanding of the ethical theories employed, as well as their        application.

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